What I’ve learned about the world working at 35,000 feet is that you can’t please everyone, no matter how hard you try. Another thing I’ve learned is regardless of where people come from or where they are sitting on the airplane, most of them have one thing in common – lack of empathy for their fellow passengers. It seems as if a passenger is not experiencing (or has experienced) something first hand, they have little regard for what other passengers may be experiencing.
Take for instance the last row. It never fails, whenever I’m standing at the back of the airplane watching passengers board, I’ll notice a group of people getting closer and closer to me as they walk down the aisle squinting at the seat numbers on the armrests, and as they get closer and closer I can see the look of horror grow on their face as they realize just how close to the back of the aircraft their seats really are.
“We’re sitting in the last row! (Insert curse word here!)” That’s what I’ll usually hear as they sling their items into the empty overhead bin and slam the mother shut.
Hey, it’s not my fault! Anyways, someone has to sit there, why not you? I mean if it’s not you, who should it be? You do know that people are sitting there when you’re not there, right?
Passengers are always complaining about the bad attitudes of flight attendants, but what I’m sick and tired of are passengers with the same bad attitude. I’m not talking about the way they treat me, I’m talking about the way they treat each other! It’s gotten out of hand. For example, a lot has been written about overweight passengers on the airplane recently and what I find interesting are the comments people have made to these posts. They’re actually quite shocking. Seriously, what is it about the airplane that seems to bring out the worst in people?
One large passenger who is the inspiration behind this post wrote…
I am one of those large passengers. I fly to Europe more than I fly on domestic flights. I fly in coach, usually. I have learned little lessons to try to fly more easily. I fly on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, when there will be a larger chance of there being at least one empty seat in coach. Anytime that I HAVE to go to Las Vegas, I purchase two tickets.
The flight attendants have always been very helpful. I have only had one awful experience. On a flight from Houston to Albuquerque, I was in the window seat up front and the person beside me insisted on sit with my right hip up. I did not fit. I was in pain for a couple of hours. I had a terrible, huge bruise on that hip by that evening. Yes, I know, many people look at me as just an “obese person,” but I am a kind, caring, intelligent (Masters Degree) person and I have feelings, too.
The best service and care I have ever received is with Lufthansa. As usual, I flew either a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. At the gate, the gate attendant would, without any request from me, block out three available seats. I know that is extremely unusual, but trust me, it was extremely appreciated.
On a flight from Cancun to Houston, the male supervisor at check in took my boarding pass from me. He could not explain what he was doing because he did not speak English and I did not speak Spanish. He fixed and gave me another boarding pass with a flourish and a big smile. I smiled back, not knowing what had just happened. When I
boarded, I found that I was sitting in first class. To you sir, whoever and where ever you are, GRACIAS, so very much. Random acts of kindness are greatly appreciated.
I hope that the normal sized or thin people who see a person like me will remember that we have feelings. If I am in a situation where I am intruding on another person’s space, I do feel embarrassed and I apologize. I cannot always afford to purchase two tickets. I try to drive rather than fly, if at all possible.
Can you imagine being the person who walks down the aisle that everyone is wishing not to sit next to? As they’re walking down the aisle, some of you are not even quiet about it! While I know it’s not comfortable traveling beside an overweight person, it’s not right to bash and judge them, just like it’s not right for me, your flight attendant, to bash and judge you in the galley with my fellow coworkers based on the way you travel. Everyone deserves a little kindness. Even on the airplane.
And now I’d like to leave you with a few kind words from Frank and Bob, two people I hope to find myself working with on an airplane one day soon…
I realized many years ago that my uniform didn’t make me “human” to many passengers. And, at times have been treated as if I didn’t have feelings/emotions either. You are NOT the problem. A 17 inch seat can not accommodate a lot of passengers, yet that is what the airline sells to you, is the problem. First and business fares are astronomical. That’s not the solution. As I walk down the aisle and see passenger’s of size, I silently think to myself………..how hard it is for you to sit there so uncomfortable. You may be large, Jeannie, but you also have a BIG HEART. I’ll take
that any day, over the passenger with the inflated sense of self importance.
Thank you so much, Frank. You know, I have never treated flight attendants as though they have no feelings. I suppose that is because any flight attendants I have ever come into contact with have always been very pleasant, have smiled and have taken the time to say hello, have a good flight, etc. I would say that 99% are very thoughtful and proactive in being helpful to me (like getting the seat belt extender for me before I can even ask). As far as the issue of a person’s weight, the fact is people aren’t overweight because they want to be. Obesity isn’t a decision one makes for ones self. There are a lot of circumstances that contribute to a person being overweight or obese. This common idea that overweight or obese people simply don’t take care of themselves and constantly eat Burger King for dinner is absurd and proves ignorance in so many of us.
Jeannie & Frank,
In this day and age, when the average person needs or wants to get from point A to point B and there is great distance involved, we are going to have to stuff ourselves into the big metal tube with a lot of other people who are in the same situation. It is going to entail unusual closeness and maybe crying infants. I know that it is only going to be for a few hours and I try to make the best of it. It is much easier to do when flight attendants like you are on duty, Frank.
Bob, the singing pilot.